Tag Archives: Barbados lawyers

Barbados Attorney Philip Vernon Nicholls arrested for Money Laundering, Theft of $675,000 from client real estate deal

Philip vernon nicholls attorney

Prominent Barbados attorney-at-law Philip Vernon Nicholls is free on $200,000 bail and will return to court on February 25, 2014 to face charges of money laundering and theft of $674,172.

The offenses are said to involve a foreign real estate client – a method of stealing money that seems all too prevalent amongst Bajan lawyers. (Check out some of BFP’s past stories on this topic: here, here, here, here, here, here and here – get the picture?)

In the past many Bajan lawyers bought their way out of similar theft charges. Until recently most of these complaints were dealt with internally by the Barbados Bar Association until the volume of thieving lawyers walking free so undermined the reputation of Bajan lawyers that the association and the police were forced to really do something. Still though, most lawyers end up buying their way out in a manner quite unavailable to ordinary thieves.

Nicholls has a long association with politicians, governments and government bodies including the Bees, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, insider David Shorey and the Barbados Cricket Association.

The money laundering charge is a first though and we look forward to learning the details about where the money ended up… Switzerland? Jersey? New York? Miami? I wonder if the public will be allowed to know the full details or if a deal will be made to allow another crooked Bajan lawyer to walk free.

Further Reading

Barbados Today: $200,000 bail for lawyer

Stabroek News: Bajan attorney charged with money laundering

24 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Barbados lawyer shows backside to judge, tells her to “Kiss my Ass”… and the judge runs away!

kiss my ass judge

How much is rumour? How much it true?

I don’t know much about normal behaviours by lawyers and judges because I try to avoid contact with those kinds of people at all costs. What really happened in the Nation’s story? Who are the people?

But I have a feeling that when this type of behaviour goes unpunished (if it happened as rumoured), it’s really all over. And what’s with the judge running away? What does that say about how the judge views her authority? What the #$@! is happening ’bout hey?

Hopefully this will not be another incident like gun in Parliament where the public were left not knowing what really happened but the respect for Parliament was undermined.

From The Nation

Legal Shocker!

AN INCIDENT earlier this week involving a veteran attorney at law and a High Court judge has left the legal fraternity in an uproar.

According to reports a Queen’s Counsel after a verbal outburst directed at the female judge, turned around and backed her, lifted his robe and bent over while uttering a profanity. Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Another crooked Barbados lawyer steals foreigner’s real estate money

Does anyone know the name of the lawyer?

Victim Joan Marville is about to learn:

1. Barbados lawyers never go to jail for stealing from trust accounts

2. Unlike some jurisdictions, Bajan law firms are not required to have theft insurance to protect clients.

“Lawyers are held to a higher standard of conduct… breach of trust is a terrible, egregious offence… except in Barbados”

In Britain or the USA if a lawyer is unable to pay monies entrusted to the lawyer’s care, there is hell to pay and it usually happens in days. Upon receiving a legitimate complaint the Bar Association and sometimes the police show up at the law firm, nab the books and freeze the lawyer’s trust accounts. Very often the light-fingered lawyer ends up not only disbarred for life but in jail doing some serious time because the integrity of the legal profession must be upheld.

Except in Barbados where more often than not the Old Boy’s Club looks after everything quietly so as not to embarrass the club or lessen the public confidence in lawyers. Those cover-ups have had just the opposite impact though – folks have learned that there is little to discourage crooked lawyers in Barbados.

The latest story follows the usual pattern: A resident of a foreign country, in this case the USA, sold some land in Barbados in 2006 and hired a Barbados lawyer to complete the transaction.

The crooked Barbados lawyer handled the sale and received the money from the purchaser, some $100,000. Instead of transferring the money to the client, the lawyer simply kept the money and began the usual dance of delay, delay, delay until it was obvious that the money did not reside in the lawyer’s trust fund – if it ever did.

That was in 2006. Here we are six years later and the victim, retired nurse Joan Marville, still waits for justice. The article in the Nation is so poorly written that we can’t tell when Marville first approached the Barbados Bar Association and the police. Presumably she didn’t wait six years!

But none of that matters because most Bajans can already predict what will happen to the crooked lawyer: nothing. We can’t come up with one crooked Barbados lawyer who has gone to jail.

Buying or selling real estate on Bim? Good luck with the crap shoot!

Here’s a few of our previous stories about crooked Bajan lawyers…

Another Barbados lawyer buys his way out of criminal charges. A system rotten to the core.

My lawyer, a Member of Parliament, took my money but didn’t complete a real estate transaction

Crooked Bajan lawyer Mortimer Clarke: How much did he steal this time?

Barbados Bar Association blames public for choosing crooked lawyers “at random”

Barbados lawyer Leroy Lynch arrested for $2.2 million theft

DLP connections protect crooked Barbados lawyer from arrest?

Another thieving Barbados estate lawyer

Bar Association: Public having doubts about Barbados lawyers’ credibility. (No Kidding!)

Crooked Barbados Lawyers: Only One Arrested, Many Others Allowed To Walk Free… Why?

Here is the latest story as it appears online at The Nation. We have to reprint it here in full as that paper has a history of removing/modifying stories to suit various agendas. Please do read the story at The Nation, but if it’s gone someday you can read it here… Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

Divorce lawyers: one frustrated client sounds off

Submitted by email. Author’s name withheld by editor

We are a society where the lawyers are a law unto themselves and people have had to suffer because of the practices of a fraternity. The court process in Barbados is flawed with people who have no interest in justice. The ego of these who think they have lives hanging in the balance is huge. For the past X years I’ve been going through a divorce and have had to go to many lawyers, each one worse than the last.

The thing is they don’t take kindly to you knowing what you are about and asking for what you want, because of ego. They went to law school, you didn’t so you must shut up and let them speak, even though it is your life. I have had the pleasure of files going missing in the registry on court day when the Judge would need it. I have had lawyers withholding my file because they feel as if they should do so out of spite. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

My lawyer, a Member of Parliament, took my money but didn’t complete a real estate transaction

I demanded to know what was going on, as I had paid my lawyer in full to complete our land deal since last year, November 03rd, 2011. I have been informed that my lawyer failed to attend not one, but two scheduled meetings to complete this transaction so that we can get our deeds.”

Yet another lawyer fails to transfer purchase funds already provided by client!

Barbados Bar Association making inquiries

This post was received from a reader we’ll call “Z”. As requested, Barbados Free Press editors removed the names from the letter.

My lawyer, a Member of Parliament I will call Lawyer #1, overcharged me for a land deal, tried to extort more money when I spoke to the disciplinary board of the Bar Association about him. I am purchasing real estate and has not yet completed the land deal for which he was paid in full for. I gave him the money to buy the land and he has not forwarded this money to the seller’s lawyer in over 6 months!

• Lawyer #1 was hired to complete a secession land deal for us. This plot was to be purchased under the Land Tenantries Act.

• Lawyer #1 was paid in full, inclusive of all his lawyer fees to complete this land deal as of November 03rd, 2011.

• May 2012, our land lady for called indicating that she did not receive her money as yet for the land purchase. She asked us to check with our lawyer to find out what the hold up was.

• On receiving this information from our land lady, on May 29th, 2012, I called the office of the land lady’s lawyer (Lawyer #2), who is the lawyer for our land lady as I was confused as to what was going on, due to the fact I have been given information from my lawyer’s secretary which did not add up with our land lady’s query.

• I spoke to Lawyer #2′s secretary, who informed me that Lawyer #2′s law firm were awaiting the 10% funds from me. I enquired as to what she meant, as I have paid my Lawyer since last year, November 03rd, 2011 in full and therefore, there was no hold up of money on my end.

My Lawyer missed two meetings to transfer the money!

• Lawyer #2’s secretary when on to say that two meetings were scheduled to have this matter completed and that my lawyer (Lawyer #1) did not turn up to either of these meetings. Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law

DLP connections protect crooked Barbados lawyer from arrest?

18 years after running off, cocky thief attorney returns to Barbados

Why was Michael Simmons so confident he wouldn’t be arrested?

Everybody knew that fugitive Michael Simmons (photo above) was coming to his sister’s funeral last weekend, and everybody was just as sure that he wouldn’t be arrested for the crimes that caused him to flee Barbados 18 years ago.

What’s changed in the 18 years since Simmons stole millions and ran off? That’s easy: some of Simmons’ family members are now close to the DLP Government.

Reader “Who me?” saw the article in The Nation Simmons back after 18 years and sent us the following contribution. BFP readers should remember that just because someone says something, doesn’t mean it’s all for true.

But there does seem to be a whole lotta smoke ’bout this place recently!

Justice? Rule of Law? For some but not for others.

by BFP reader “Who, me?”

The Nation article about Michael Simmons caught my eye in that I was made to understand that transparency and corruption and the relevant legislation were major concerns for Barbadians, having being promised this by the DLP government of the day.

Now, how can a situation exist where a lawyer, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Michael Simmons having robbed his clients of their funds and absconded to the United States can return to Barbados as if he has not care in the world? Which in my estimation Mr. Michael Simmons doesn’t have a care in the world. Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Police, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Simplified procedure to complain about corrupt or inept Barbados lawyers.

President of Barbados Bar Association reveals changes

Finally, we have confirmation of the rumours from none other than BBA President Andrew Pilgrim.  A new simplified complaint procedure is to be introduced soon in an effort to deal with the current backlog where the average complaint takes over four years to process.

This “simplified and enhanced” procedure is far more efficient and less trouble for users. It does not require the filling out of so many forms as the initial record of complaint is made verbally.

This will be the new procedure…

  1. Write the lawyer’s name, law firm name, address and phone number on a piece of paper with the word “COMPLAINT” in large letters at the very top.
  2. Below the lawyer’s information, write your name, address and contact information.
  3. Place the paper into a suitable bottle.
  4. Shout the details of your complaint into the bottle.
  5. Seal the bottle securely and toss it into the sea off the South Coast.
  6. Await a response from the Barbados Bar Association.

Mr. Pilgrim states that the new procedure will be far less frustrating to Barbadians and others making complaints against lawyers because it will not take so much time to complain and the results will be exactly the same.

Initially the Barbados Bar Association yacht will be fishing the bottles from the sea on the South Coast only, but this will be expanded to the West Coast next year with the arrival of a second BBA yacht.

You can read all about Mr. Pilgrims promises in the Barbados Today article: Changes for Lawyers

Story submitted by BFP reader “G”

Message in a bottle image courtesy of Robin Wood. Thanks Robin!

5 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

Attorney Donna Symmonds receives public apology from Barbados Free Press – sort of, but not really.

Updated April 18, 2011

Well folks, it looks like we can’t get a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client. Yup, Symmonds was in the mood to sue the heck out of poor old BFP until we started asking some very basic questions about whether her client had properly reported to the tax people.

Alright, we’ll put this article back into the list and that will be that.

Don’t know why it’s so difficult for some folks to just tell the truth straight up. It would be good if Bajans knew for certain whether the charges against the lawyer client were her carelessness or improper actions by government workers.

Updated April 15, 2011:

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Weasel words from Attorney insider?

Attorney-at-law avoiding the truth?

Government tax authorities unfairly maligned by Attorney?

This story is gaining legs and certainly has the interest of our readers who want to know if the Attorney-at-Law “client” who is the subject of our story was unfairly charged by Barbados tax authorities or, as is looking ever more possible – was responsible for her own troubles.

At the center of the story is the question as to when “the client” who was charged with tax offenses (and who is an attorney at law herself) notified the Barbados tax authorities that she was no longer resident in Barbados.

If she properly notified the tax authorities years ago in writing and the government fouled up, then Bajans deserve to know about this unreasonable harassment by government officials.

But if the attorney at law “client” only notified the tax authorities after she was charged, and after ignoring years of tax demand letters, that means that the tax charges were fairly laid and that the attorney-at-law is hardly an innocent victim.

We’ve been trying to discover the truth, but so far all we get is silence and anonymous weasel words left as comments by an obvious insider.

The longer that Attorney at Law Donna Symmonds remains silent on this issue while screaming loudly about charges being dropped, the more it looks like the Attorney At Law “client” was charged due to her own negligence.

As we originally wrote to Attorney Donna Symmonds:

“Folks would like to know whether the fault is the government’s or your client’s and it would only be ethical to let the public know. That’s only fair to the government workers.

I mean, if it’s not the government’s fault, you wouldn’t want the public thinking it was, would you?”

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Our original article published April 14, 2011…

“Our apology appears a little later in this article.”

Attorney says Client’s Charges Dropped! The Nation failed to report that all charges were dropped.

Why did Barbados lawyer Donna Symmonds publish a public letter on the internet instead of sending a private email?

Donna Symmonds (courtesy BBC)

Dear Attorney Donna Symmonds,

We just noticed today that you posted a letter to BFP as a public comment on April 11, 2011 on our story New Barbados Tourism Authority Director charged with tax evasion? (Your public comment is repeated at the end of this article.) Continue reading

48 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press

Barbados lawyer Leroy Lynch arrested for $2.2 million theft

Is Barbados cleaning up the legal profession… finally?

We’ve had so many lawyers arrested in the last year and a bit that outsiders might begin to suspect that mass criminal hysteria has recently hit our legal profession. That observation would be wrong because the activity did not start recently – it’s been happening for a long time, but in the past it was always concealed.

The truth is that these kinds of arrests simply never happened until recently because the lawyers and judges looked after their own. Out and out thieves like (Insert names here, we don’t have time!) misappropriated clients’ trust funds and, if caught, at the most had to pay some money back without even a suspension let alone jail.

Arrests all for show? Deals still made?

Nevermind all the recent arrests though – I can’t think of any crooked lawyer who went to jail. Can you?

I guess it’s better than no charges at all, but I think this is the stage in our society where our glorious leaders have decided to make a show of arresting crooked lawyers – but then deals are made and the stories fade away.

Oh well, I suppose that is better than the way it used to be with no charges at all. Maybe someday we’ll read about a lawyer going away to Dodds for 2 years, but I’ve got a feeling that it won’t be Leroy Lynch. (photo above)

Hey! Is Leroy Lynch related to anyone else we know? Maybe this is a genetic problem!  :-)

Of course, I’m just throwing our readers a bit ‘o humour, cause everybody know that Mr. Leroy Lynch is innocent until proven GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!!!

:-)

Further Reading Continue reading

38 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics

Barbados Bar Association blames public for choosing crooked lawyers “at random”

President Leslie Haynes cautions public to avoid lawyers with “cash flow problems”, and to ignore recommendations of friends.

Barbados Bar Association website recommends lawyers who have been caught stealing from clients!

The President of the Barbados Bar Association vented at the public on Saturday while appearing at a seminar on conveyancing. When asked about the high number of lawyers lately charged with misappropriating clients’ money, Leslie “blame the victims” Haynes said that Barbadians “have to stop picking a lawyer at random or choosing one simply because a friend suggested a name.”

So it is the fault of the chickens for not knowing which mongoose will eat them. Or, more properly, the fault of honest Barbadians for not knowing which lawyers are dishonest.

The Barbados Bar Association does not provide a list of lawyers who have been disciplined or took money then paid it back when caught. Why not?

Shocker!

Astoundingly, BBA President Haynes also predicted that more Barbados lawyers will misappropriate their clients’ money because times are tough… Continue reading

33 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Real Estate

Another Barbados lawyer buys his way out of criminal charges. A system rotten to the core.

Attorney Alvin David Bryan wouldn’t look at camera.

Three Lessons:

1. No deterrent for the next thief lawyer.
2. Bajan lawyers cover up for their own.
3. Foreign investors and real estate buyers who live overseas are still nothing more than victims-in-waiting for Barbados lawyers.

All that talk by the justice system and the Barbados Bar Association about cleaning up the legal profession is just so much talk. You need look no further than the latest case where Attorney Alvin David Bryan (also called David Alvin Bryan) was charged multiple crimes for stealing over $226,000 from TWO different clients over a long period. At least one of the victims was a foreign investor living over and away.

After being criminally charged, lawyer Bryan paid the money back to the victims and walked a free man. That’s the normal penalty when a lawyer is caught thieving in Barbados: they have to pay back the money and then they can continue to practice law.

One law for the lawyers, and another for the rest of us. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Another thieving Barbados estate lawyer

Having read your articles on crooked lawyers in Barbados and having gotten no satisfaction from the probate attorney for my wife’s God-Mother I thought of writing you and The Nation.  What makes this outright thievery a bit different (probably not unique) is that my wife, (name removed by editor) was born in Barbados and is a Barbados and US citizen.  The attorney in question did not identify all foreign securities (due in the will to go to my wife) and has continued since the death (1999) to routinely cash dividends.

That he was doing so was brought to us by an employee of Inland Revenue who cannot further identify himself. The attorney in question has confessed to all of this in writing–exacted with the help of an attorney-cousin of my wife, who can get no further with this thief.

No help from the Barbados Bar Association.

I have chapter and verse.

This surely hurts the honourable nation Barbados is.  We have never stopped coming all 50 years of our marriage.

signed (name and contact info sent to BFP, but not published by editor)

13 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments